How Miami ended USA's four-year drought on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour
CEBU (Philippines) - Do you remember life in September 2019?
Spain lifted the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. Though some things remained the same like Taylor Swift dominating pop culture.
That month was also notable for the FIBA 3x3 World Tour because until last weekend - when Miami took the crown at the Cebu Masters - it proved the last time an American team won a Masters.
On September 21, 2019, iconic USA team Princeton clinched the Los Angeles Masters.
But that started a frustrating four-year drought for the hoops power with Princeton falling short at the Utsunomiya Final 2019.
After the pandemic hit in early 2020, it proved difficult for American teams to travel due to Covid-19 restrictions and they were rarely seen during the next two seasons.
With life getting back to normal in 2022, USA teams hoped to strike back and Princeton almost did immediately with a runner's up finish at the Utsunomiya Opener but that's as good as it got for the red, white and blue.
Fan favorites NY Harlem came close, so too entertaining newcomers Washington DC and Omaha 3Ball.
But it all amounted to naught in 2022, so USA decided to do something about it and load up.
Represented by the same players who make up Team USA, Miami - a fitting name considering this glitzy team - was formed and there was much anticipation of them becoming an instant powerhouse.
They had an A-list line-up featuring former NBA veteran Jimmer Fredette, Omaha leader Dylan Travis and ex-Princeton stars Canyon Barry and Kareem Maddox, who won MVP at the LA Masters 2019.
There was more hype than the Heatles, but it hasn't been easy with Miami realizing that the pro circuit is incredibly talented and deeper than ever.
Even though these players helped USA to silver at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2023, Miami could not translate that international success onto the pro circuit.
They went seven events without a title, including three Masters where Miami were unable to reach the final.
But they had started to build momentum and Miami entered Cebu with swagger like celebrities at South Beach.
Almost exactly four years since Princeton won the title in LA, Miami were inspired during an unbeaten campaign, highlighted by knocking out top seeds Ub Huishan NE in the semis before outlasting Vienna in an epic final.
It was a perfect team effort with MVP Fredette and Barry walking buckets, while Travis was a defensive menace and Maddox controlled the paint.
Finally ending USA's curse, Miami celebrated with gusto as they were showered in confetti and the love from their whole new legion of Filipino fans.
You just know they won't be basking in the triumph for too long though. We don't know when Miami will next win a Masters on this unpredictable and crazy World Tour, but there is one thing we can confidently predict.
There won't be another four-year title drought for Americans on the World Tour.